Wednesday, May 30, 2012

All done

The final cannon has sounded and for another year the faire is done. It is always a sad thing to hear that last cannon, but at the same time it is such a relief. When you give up your weekends four months you find that you are desperate for a break. At the same time when you bond so closely with a group of people the idea of suddenly not seeing them every week is almost distressing.

I will miss my Saturday nights in the hotel. I will miss the tailgate after a long day. I will miss Sunday night dinners telling war stories. I will miss roaming around the lanes harassing the patrons. I will miss the wild stories that were a result of the Gypsy Extravaganza. I will miss gypsy lunches with Vadim throwing eggshells at people, hurriedly passed trays of food, and patrons gawking at us as we ate.

I will miss my friends.

I will miss my character too. Astra, much like all of my characters, is just as much a friend as anyone else. She is warm and familiar, and a place I can escape to when the world is just too much. She lets me rest while she comes out to play.

As I walked slowly to the gate to the keep on Monday evening she became smaller and smaller. A scene played out in my head as she sadly began to break camp and head North to Scotland and wherever else the road will take the vitsa until next spring arrives and they can make camp in Pickering forest and descend down into Scarborough once more.

It was a good season. I won a character of the day mug on my birthday. It was very rewarding since I won it for a day that was by far one of my best performance days ever. I watched the husbeast truly grow as a performer and explode onto the faire this year. I saw as he was recognized by award after award and so much praise that he might drown in all of it. I watched as my kid took a position of power and move through it beautifully, and then push past her difficulties to emerge a success in everything she did.

It was a good year, but it is good that it is done now. There will be picnic in a few weeks to put the faire to sleep and then it will be done. The memories will linger until we start ramping up again, and they will keep me warm and content through the winter until once more it is spring and a new faire and new memories begin.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


May 26th 1981:

It was a Tuesday when they induced my mother. It was a Tuesday because they do not schedule inductions on weekends or holidays, and Memorial day had been the day before. So it was a Tuesday.

They say Tuesday's child is full of Grace. That is a load of crap.

I was only two days late, but they feared that since my mother had such a fast labor with my older brother that she would get stuck in Houston traffic while in labor and deliver me on the side of the highway. Have you ever been in Houston traffic? Well then  you understand it is a very real possibility.

My mother was alone in the hospital. Her brother was out of town, her sister was in Colorado attending her fiancees graduation from the Air Force Academy, her parents were in Connecticut, and my father was not worth the carbon he was constructed from and had opted to simply not show up for the birth as he had more important things to do.

After several hours of labor the doctors began running around looking a little too panicky for my mothers taste. No matter how many times she asked what was wrong they all ignored her. That is they ignored her until she managed to catch some poor intern who passed to close to her by the shirt and proceeded to hold him hostage until someone told her what was going on.

I was breach. I had worked my hand over my head and they couldn't deliver me in that position. The doctor assured my mother it would be fine, they would just tickle me and get me to pull my arm back. My mother asked how they were going to manage that, and she wasn't really thrilled with the answer.

It apparently took them an hour to get me to pull my arm back into a deliverable position. Considering how ticklish I am now I find this quite funny. I guess I was stubborn even before I came out.

It was lunch time when I finally made my appearance; bald, screaming, and as red as an over ripe tomato. The doctor held me up for my mother to see. I was covered in slime, wailing at the top of my lungs, and a really unnatural shade of red. Without giving her much time to ponder on her new baby girl they whisked me away to be cleaned up and went about taking care of her.

The first thing she did when she got back to her room was call her sister in Colorado. The first thing she said to anyone about me was to tearfully declare to my aunt "I had a baby girl, and she is ugly!"
She insists once the slime was gone and I had breathed enough to turn the color of a baby and not fresh produce, I was beautiful, though still bald.

May 26th 1987:

I was a spoiled brat. A complete and total spoiled brat. At some point I was shown the movie Gone With the Wind, and I wanted nothing more in the world than to have a Gone With the Wind themed birthday party. I got what I wanted.

My mother had little ruffly antebellum dresses made for me and six of my friends in the style worn in the barbecue scene from the movie. We had wide brimmed straw hats, white gloves, and lace parasols. There was a carriage ride arranged through downtown San Antonio. She even bought me a copy of the movie, which I am told was over $200 since it was a collectors box set.

Every detail was perfect.

Every detail except for the fact that the birthday girl was in a foul mood. I woke up that morning cranky as could be. My mother was trying to curl my hair and put makeup on me, but I wanted nothing to do with it. Once I got something set in my mind there was no changing it, and I did not want makeup on. From that point on in the day I pouted.

My  mother will tell you I was in a foul mood from the moment I woke up. I can't really give any good excuses, I was six years old. Maybe that is excuse enough. She says she could have happily sold me that day. I really couldn't have blamed her if she had. 

The entire event is well documented. There are no end of pictures of beautiful little girls in fantastic dresses with big smiles on their faces. Then there is me pouting. There is a beautiful picture taken from far away of my mother and I in a gazebo. It looks like we are sharing a loving mother daughter moment. In reality she is gripping down on my shoulders telling me to get happy or else!

My grandfather actually shot video of the whole thing. Unfortunately it had been raining all day and the humidity ruined the tape. All you could do was hear my grandfather talking the images were a blurry mess. It was the last of my birthdays he was alive for.

I was a wretched spoiled brat.
I grew out of that.

May 25th 1998:

A birthday on Memorial day is not really inconvenient, but a birthday at the end of May guarantees that eventually someone will graduate on your birthday. I was turning 17 and my brother was graduating from High School the same day. It was sort of a foregone conclusion that my birthday would be overlooked.

I had had a string of bad birthdays since my Gone With the Wind fiasco. There was my 13th birthday when I was violently ill. There was also my 14th birthday when everyone chose to go to another friends birthday part instead of mine. That is just a couple of good examples that stick out in my mind.

To try and prevent this from being another one for the books we decided to celebrate my birthday the entire week. If I was going to be forgotten on the actual day of my birth then I totally deserved to have a little more fun than usual.

Everclear was playing in Austin that week. They were my favorite band at the time and my aunt bought tickets for me and my best friend to go. My brother and his girlfriend got to come along to chaperone us, though honestly I did not see them the entire night. I was so excited that I could have burst, I had never been to a concert before.

We had only just stepped inside of Austin Music Hall when we were practically ambushed by a girl from our school that we really did not like. She was a vapid twit as far as we were concerned. We were both surprised to see her there because none of the bands playing that night were in the style of music she listened to. What caught us most was the fact that hanging around her neck was a back stage and VIP pass. Our hatred for her vaulted immediately.

We quickly separated ourselves from her, not wanting to waste our time on someone we disliked when there was fun to be had, and made our way to the barrier at the front of the stage. I am not sure I had ever been that excited before. We picked a spot almost at the edge of the stage left side, and we were determined not to move so we would be as close as possible to the band.

I recall there was a group of what at the time we thought of as old people there. In reality they were probably the age I am now. They apparently thought we were adorable and decided to watch over us. On at least two occasions, without asking us if we wanted or needed anything, they went and bought us bottles of water so we wouldn't risk losing our spot.

During Everclear's set we were glued to the railing screaming like the hysterical teenage girls we were. Despite it not really mosh pit sort of concert, a small roving pit of violence had formed at the far side of the crowd. Slowly the mosh pit moved at us. The rowdy group was sucking in anyone who was in their path like a music driven rage whirlpool.

Despite the fact that we were clinging to the rails, there was no way we weren't going to be pulled in. My best friend was tiny, less than 5' tall, and weighed practically nothing. While she was tough, she was going to be eaten alive by the pit. I felt her hand on my arm as we were both about to be sucked back into the mob of swinging elbows and thrashing body parts, when suddenly there was a wall of man between us and them.

One of the 'old' guys was this massive man, probably the size of the husbeast. He had seen what was inevitable and simply decided to stop it. He stood behind us and placed a hand firmly on either side of us to make sure we weren't going anywhere if we didn't want to. The pit raged around us, but we never felt a thing. I imagine that his backside took quite a good beating while he stood guard over us.

Later on, once we were safe from the passing danger of moshing teens, he stayed close at hand in case anything else went wrong. He even obliged my friends desire to crowd surf by picking her up and flinging her like a ragdoll backwards into the waiting arms of the crowd. He offered to throw me too, but I politely declined, preferring to keep my feet firmly on the ground.

Towards the end of Everclear's encore the bass player started pulling people up from the audience. There was no way I was going to be able to crawl over the barrier and onto the stage without face planting, even with a hand up. My best friend though was tiny enough, and he was reaching right for us. She grabbed his hand and I gave her a knee to vault off of. Just as she made it off of the ground some opportunistic girl from the audience used the two of us like a ladder, and scrambled up and into the bassists waiting arms. We were both pissed off as she was the last person they pulled on stage.

Still it was an exhilarating experience.

Many months later I was sitting at the theater recruiting table at Freshman orientation. The vapid twit came bounding over and plopped down to chat somehow completely missing the looks of disdain I was casting her way. She of course brought up the concert which was the only tie the two of us really had.

For a minute I listened to her babble on and on about the concert and her uncle Joey. I finally had to stop her and ask who she was talking about. It was her turn to look at me like I was an idiot. Her uncle was Joey Shuffield, the drummer for Fastball, who was a local Austin band just starting to do good for themselves at that time. They had been the opening band for Everclear that night.

It at least explained the backstage passes.

I stared at her mouth slightly agape as she began rambling again about how she had gotten to go backstage and into the VIP area. She talked about the weird old guys with the crazy beards that she had been talking to, and I almost swallowed my tongue as I barely vocalized the name ZZ Top. She could only shrug. She had no idea who they were other than 'old dudes with crazy long beards'.

When she asked me finally how I had liked the concert I dumbly mumbled that it was good and how it had been a birthday present. She let out a long cry and frowned at me. If only she had known, she said, if only she had known she would have asked her uncle to get me and my friend backstage to meet the bands. If only I had told her.

It was still a cool concert even if I missed out on it being crazy amazing because I was a judgmental twit.  

May 27th 2000:

I had been away at college for a year. I was turning 19 and the summer session was just about to start and I had an off campus apartment. SFASU was considered one of the top three party schools in the state at the time, and theater majors took quite a bit of pride in our parties. It was a recipe for disaster (my mother is going to love this story).

My roommate and I planned the party for weeks in advance. My birthday was the perfect excuse to throw a huge bash. Our friends that were over 21 were more than happy to provide us with copious amounts of alcohol. There were bowls of jello shots which we served with a spoon in exchange for a kiss. There were buckets of nookie juice, which was a combination of vodka, Sprite, and melted down gummy bears. There was enough cheap beer and wine to drown a frat. It was going to be stellar.

My roommate promised to stay sober for the event so that I could have all the fun that I wanted. I took this promise to heart and partied with gusto. I was so drunk I am surprised I remember anything of the night. There were so many people that they filled the downstairs of our little apartment and flooded out into the picturesque courtyard of our 18 unit French Quarter themed complex.

The night was actually going remarkably well. We had partied for hours without incident. Then things changed quite suddenly sometime probably around midnight.

I was inside giggling with friends when suddenly a flood of people came pouring in the front door in a panic. Cops! They all ran inside slamming the front door and heading straight out the backdoor. We were almost all underage so the urge to run was high.

The back door opened up onto the street, and as soon as the french doors opened I could see the cops waiting out back to catch anyone fleeing the scene. It was a perfect sort of trap. I was apparently sober enough to slam the door and not let anyone out.

We were trapped.

Someone found me in the crowd and began dragging me to the door. I was being told I had to talk to the cops because it was my apartment. I insisted that I couldn't do that. I was drunk and I was underage. I told them to find my roommate as she was supposed to be sober and handling this.

That was when I was told she was drunk and passed out in the upstairs bathroom. I stared at them dumbly; she had promised. It turns out her date was late and she thought he had stood her up. She had gotten blasted in melancholy response to the supposed slight.

In short; I was on my own.

A list of instructions were thrown at me as I was reluctantly shoved towards the door. Do not let them come in no matter what. They have to ask permission and as long as I said no I was fine. Be polite. Don't act drunk.

I was doomed.

As I stepped out the front door, which I closed securely behind me, I was greeted by two officers standing in a semi circle of about eight of my friends; every single person who was over 21 at the party. The first thing they asked was if they could come in, I resolutely but politely told them no. They then asked for my ID. Of course it was inside so I had to go back in to find it. Once I had produced the license they told me the party was too loud, and I promised adamantly that we would move inside and turn off the stereo.

Every question they asked me I answered clearly and calmly. The only reason I could do this was my friends who were casually standing behind them. The cops would ask a question and my friends would nod yes or no for me to parrot back as a response.

In the end they had to leave since they hadn't actually caught anyone with a drink in their hand and had no reason to enter the apartment. They wished me a happy birthday as they walked away. Needless to say the party broke up as soon as the cops were out of sight.

I went to bed disheartened at the cops busting my party, pissed off at my roommate who was sleeping off her drunk in the bathtub, and upset by the realization that come morning I was going to have a nightmare clean up to do most likely by myself. We had been smart and moved anything breakable upstairs before the party, but that didn't save me from all the trash, dirty dishes, and sticky messes everywhere.

When I awoke in the morning though I came down stairs to a breakfast made for a hangover and a sparkling apartment, including all of our breakables back in their place. My roommate had friends crashing with us from out of town, and they had decided to give me the birthday present of not having to pick up after my own birthday party.

Best present ever.

May 26th 2012:

The possibilities are endless...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Birthdays are really about moms

I spent three hours yesterday writing a post, but this is not that post. If you want to see that post you should come back Saturday. It is a birthday retrospective, and since Saturday is my birthday that is when it will be posted. Duh.

Still it took me about three hours to write it, because I was writing about me and I have a lot to say about me. Today's post is not about me, but I could spend infinite amounts of time writing about this person and still have more to say. I doubt I will ever do justice with my words to her, but I will do my damnedest to try.

Isn't she pretty?
Today I want to talk about my mom.

You might have noticed there wasn't really a Mothers Day post, and there most likely won't be until I myself am a mother. Don't get me wrong, I love my mom and think moms in general are fabulous, I just work Mothers Day every year and am really bad about remembering to write posts in advance. I was the last kid to call mom on Mothers Day since I didn't have phone signal until well after 9 at night, but I got that call in none the less.

Really though I do not think Mothers Day is the most appropriate day to show appreciation to your mother. Everyone does because it is expected. I have never been one for liking forced shows of affection, it is why I don't celebrate Valentines Day, and the husbeast only buys me 'Tuesday'* flowers.

I believe that the day you should most show appreciation to your mother is on your own birthday. Come on guys that day would mean nothing to us without them. They are the ones who did all the hard work to get you here. All you did was show up. Sure some of us made more dramatic entrances or had more difficulty than popping out like a slice of toast screaming our heads off. Still they did the work.

So my mom. What can I say about her? Honestly I have been pondering over this post for several weeks now and have not come up with a good answer to that question. There is plenty to say, and perhaps that is the problem. There are too many cool things to say about this woman, who is my hero.

I am just going to have a stream of consciousness list of the amazing things I see in my mom and call it good. Mom I know you are getting all squishy right now, and I know telling you not to cry would be as pointless as telling you not to cry when they play Pomp and Circumstance at the twins graduation on Saturday, but you know whatever.

- My mother is the most creative human I have ever met. I am pretty much convinced there is nothing she can not do. I remember I was in high school and I came downstairs one day and she was crocheting. I had never seen my mother crochet, and in fact was fairly certain that she had told me that her grandmother had tried to teach her when she was young and she never got the hang of it. Here she was though with a little pile of crocheted tiles building up beside her.

Her explanation for this new found skill? She dreamed that her grandmother showed her how again and she woke up knowing just what to do. I don't know if her brain pulled out a long forgotten memory and finally decided to pay attention, or if Great Grandma Emma visited her in her dreams and gave her a ghostly tutorial, but she could crochet.

Over the years I have seen my mother make paper from lint, do stained glass work, etch glass, build everything from walls to bird houses to furniture, cross stitch, paint, picture transfers, make jewelery, glue tie dye, tea staining, make clothing, refinish antiques, make candles, and about a million other things. Crafting runs in her veins.

Why yes that is Vodka she is pouring into a china tea cup.
- My mother has always been the cool mom. This sort of ties in with my last point. When we were growing up she was the mom who went out of her way to make our house the destination spot. Whether it was handing out popsicles** on a hot summer day, or creating the coolest project to do at a sleepover, she was always right there with something.

The neighborhood kids growing up always wanted to play at our house. When we got older our friends loved hanging out at our place because my mom was just so damned cool.

- My mother is the strongest woman I know. I am not going to list all of the crazy shit she has gone through in her life, but suffice it to say most people would have given up a long time ago. She has faced challenges that would make most people break down in tears. She has endured lasting pain that would make the strongest of men buckle. She has shouldered burdens that would have made a Buddhist monk snap like a twig.

I know some days it is hard for her, but somehow she just keeps going with poise and grace. I am pretty sure she started crying about two sentences ago and is saying that she is anything but poised and graceful right now, but she would be wrong.

- My mother is a firecracker. Do not cross my mother. Ever. She may be easy going, and laugh away more than a few things, but when you incur her wrath woe be unto you. She is fiercely protective of those she loves and will defend them until the end whether they are right or not.

When we were in middle school my brother stuck a paperclip in the electric socket on a science lab table and blew the damn thing up. The assistant principle of course wanted to suspend my brother and charge my mother for damages. My brother swore it had been an accident and my mother went in to try and calmly talk some reason into the man. Surely you can't be so harsh on the kid if it was an accident.

Lets just say that maybe my mother dropped that poise and grace thing I was talking about earlier, and let the assistant principal have a piece of her mind. My brother was not suspended and that little man never bothered us again. We still aren't sure if my brother was guilty or not, but my mother was going to stand by him no matter what.

In another incident with my brother, what do you want I was the good kid, she went to a meeting with a school councilor and firmly stood her ground that my brothers imaginary friend Bob the 6' African king beetle was real. Mostly because the councilor was a condescending jackass, but still she did it. My brother was 14 at the time.

Pretty much all administrators lived in fear of my mother because she was going to get what was best for her children. All I had to do was walk into the councilor or assistant principals office and ask them if they wanted me to call my mother, and suddenly I could have pretty much anything I wanted.

-My  mother loves harder than anyone I have ever known. The love she has for me and my siblings, for daddy, for her sister, her nieces, her family and friends in general, is overwhelming. She would do anything for us and we all know it.

There were ants, that is why I am making the face I swear.

I hope that I am half the woman my mom is and continue to be so. I think often as I do things that I hope my mom will be proud of me for what I am doing. If I have even a fraction of her strength, talent, tenacity, grace, dignity, poise, and heart, then I am a truly lucky woman.

So as my 31st birthday comes into view, I would like to say thank you to my mother. Thank you for going through all the pain and effort to bring me into this world. Thank you for spending all those years raising me and turning me into the woman I am today. Thank you for giving me goals to strive for. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being my mom.

And please stop crying now.

*Tuesday flowers are like Tuesday gifts. They are given for no reason other than you wanted to give them. If you needed an excuse you could say, 'Well it is Tuesday.' Thus the name.

**I have no idea how to spell this word and my spell check insists it is not real no matter how I try and spell it. How weird is that?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Underneath it all

I am a person fueled by my own laziness. I long ago realized that if I wanted to be lazy I would have to take measures that allowed me to be so and still be a functional member of society. The most obvious place I have found this to be true is in the land of laundry.

I decided long ago that I should always have at least two weeks worth of acceptable clothing. When I was younger it was easier since I was in school and could wear pajamas if I really felt the need, which in college was more often than not. As I got into the land of having a job I now required work appropriate clothes, which sadly does not include pajamas.

Most importantly though I like to always have at least two weeks worth of socks and underwear in the house. When it comes down to it, your undernothings are sort of essential no matter what you are wearing. At least that is how things go in my house.

You may be asking why two weeks? Why not just one? Or why not three weeks? Well, there is no good answer to those questions. I simply decided two weeks was a good amount of time to cover. More than two weeks of laundry building up is just daunting to tackle for one thing. For another it is possible to get so caught up in life that it may take you more than 7 days to get around to doing one load of laundry. Also 14 is an even number, and I like even numbers.

So last week around Thursday I went in to the laundry room to get clothes for the day and I realized the baskets that hold our clean underwear were both empty. The sock hamper was also empty, but that is something I have been noting for a while now. No matter how often I do laundry there never seem to be any clean socks. The problem was though that I had done laundry on Friday night and had washed all of our undernothings.

If you are doing the math in your head that is six days, less than a weeks supply. How the  hell did that happen? Well it might be because we haven't bought new undernothings in forever and all the old ones have worn out. Either that or gnomes have been stealing our clothes again.

Any way you look at it, it was essential that we go and buy new socks and underwear immediately. I was not going to have to panic about laundry every five days. So I packed the husbeast into the car that evening and we headed to go in search of new undernothings.

Now as I mentioned before it has been some time since we bought new underwear, but as I was standing in front of the giant wall of panties I realized something important: you can not just buy white underwear unless they fall in the granny panty category. None of my choices were even close to subtle. In the six packs there would be one pair of white, one pair of black, and the rest looked like there was a disco happening on my butt. There was no end to obnoxious abstract flowers, weird stripey patterns that looked like an EKG readout, and everything was in day glow colors.

What the hell? I just want some cute and comfortable panties. Not that anyone is going to see that I am wearing day glow orange and lime green tiger striped underwear, but I know, and well it is a thing. Wearing crazy panties can put you in a certain mindset, mostly that is not work appropriate.

The husbeast giggled at me as I had a small fit in the underwear aisle about my lack of choices. After that I reminded myself that this really wasn't a big deal. I was telling the kid just a year ago that she needed to have fun undernothings. It was good advice for her, and it is good advice for me too. Sometimes you need plain white underwear, but more often than not you don't, so why not have a little fun while you can.

In the end we came away with enough undernothings to cover my two week rule. Mine are all incredibly bright and fun. I have come to terms with there being a bit of fun going on under my appropriate office attire.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cheat Week

For over a year now I have been on a quest to be healthier. Sure part of being healthier involves losing weight, but really the main goal in this little quest of mine is to just feel better and be better. These are good goals to have in my humble opinion.

The problem with being healthier is that it means completely changing a lot of really ingrained behaviors, most of which involve food. I mean come on, I am a 30 year old American woman, I could live on fast food and crap loaded with artificial everything. It is how we have been raised.

Feeling lazy tonight? Order a grease soaked pizza the size of Rhode Island. In a hurry? Swing through the drive through and grab a value meal with a caloric count that equals your entire recommended calorie intake. Out with friends? Order the richest fat filled thing on the menu, plus that sugar laden desert that could feed six, and a couple of tasty adult beverages.

We all over indulge. Worse yet we indulge in things that are really not good for us. We also love doing this. I freely admit that I am guilty of all of the above, and I enjoyed it almost every time.

I did realize the error of my ways though, and have mostly cut this out of my lifestyle. There is still the occasional trip through the drive through, but I always attempt to get the healthiest option, with no fries, or milkshakes. I still go out to dinner, but I pick something that is not terrible, I take half of it home, and if there is desert I split it with a few people. I still order pizza but that is a one or two slice event.

Still there is this little voice in the back of my mind that loves to poke at me.
"Psst. Psst. Hey...hey...hey you. Stop ignoring me. Look at that, there is a McDonalds right there. Come on you love their fries. Or look there is a Whataburger next door, you adore them. Have a cheeseburger, one of the big ones. Oh and a milkshake, you know you want a milkshake. No not the small one, the big one the size of your head. Come on you deserve it, you have been so good. What is one trip to Taco Bell? Come one man...come on...."

For a year now I have firmly said 'No' to that voice. Alright so maybe sometimes I wavered a little, but for the most part I said no. I remind myself that that stuff is not good for me, not as tasty as I think it is, and makes me feel terrible afterwards. All my brain remembers though are all the happy endorphins that junk food let off before I slipped into food stupor comas.

So this week I gave in. I gave in the way a parent gives in and allows their toddler to make bad decisions and learn their lessons the hard way. I let my body have what it thought it wanted. I am ashamed to say I had Taco Bell for dinner twice this week, both times where I ate far more than I should have. I had McDonalds on the way home from a baby shower that had only vegetarian option, and I had a large milkshake to accompany my two McDoubles. The one healthy meal I ate this week, I went back for seconds and then ate a pint of ice cream. I had a big greasy burger at Mooyah's for lunch yesterday and today I am doing the same thing at Five Guys.

I have been down right gluttonous. My caloric count has been outrageous every day. There has been nothing good about my diet this week. I overate, and I ate all the wrong things, just like my body thought it wanted. Well it thought wrong, and like a toddler left to their own devices, it is learning its lesson.

Honestly the idea of another burger for lunch today is making that little voice in my head cry a little. It is starting to think a salad for lunch full of peppers, onions, almonds, and mushrooms would be fantastic. It is looking at ice cream and thinking how tasty grapes really are. It is looking at that giant portion size and insisting that really we don't need that much food.

So now that I have gotten this out of my system, I can go back to being good. Sometimes though, you just need to cheat. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Question or This is not a real post

As the title says this is not a real post, but a question.

This question is especially for my minions out there who are writers.

What is your favorite book on writing?


If you were buying a gift for a young aspiring writer what would you get them?

Ok so that was two questions, and not one. Sue me.

No seriously though, I need help here.

Oh and to make things more complicated, same set of questions, only trade out writing for cooking.

Ready? Go!

Little things

The last few days I have really been dragging. Faire takes a lot out of me, and this week seems to be particularly bad. I spent the better part of Monday staring at a blank screen and coming up with precisely nothing. I am sure I could have slapped together something in the way of filler, but I figured that you could all wait for something with a little more meat to it. I am not saying that this is that post, but it is what you get.

There are several things that have been bubbling in my brain to post about, but none of them have managed to form into more than an idea, so I am going to take this opportunity to touch on those thoughts. Maybe something more will come from it, but I am not holding my breath.

- Sunday nights after faire we always go out to dinner. It is a small ritual that allows us to relax after a long weekend of faire, and to decompress with people we like in a climate controlled environment with plenty to drink and eat at hand. I love Sunday night dinner. Next to Saturday nights in the hotel and hanging out in the parking lot, this is one of my favorite things.

The best part about it is that I never know who I will sit next to or what we will talk about. There is always the possibility that we will sit about and rehash our weekends. Faire war stories flow freely here, and if a night went by where at least one person was not recounting some magical moment they had, then it would not be Sunday night dinner. More often than not the guys get caught up in talking strategy, whether for Warhammer 40k or for the English wrestling show we do at faire. More often than not when we are dragging them to the car at the end of the night, that is the topic they are still on.

Sometimes though I find myself in the most unexpected of conversations. This last week I was sitting next to a friend who is attending school for film. Now I never did anything with film. I have had a lot of friends who have worked with film, and I have a great love and respect for film, but that is about it. Still we started talking film. Before I knew it everyone was standing to leave, and we were still mid conversation.

It has been a long time since I got lost in a conversation about film or theater, and I realized how much I missed it. There was a time when I was younger when I could, and did, sit up at Denny's until the sun rose just talking theater or writing or something arts related.

I miss it.

- I have some very dear friends who have been published recently. Actually as I sit here and think about it, I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who have been published recently. People I have shared a beer with have novels in print. People I have shared a house with are in short story anthologies. That is pretty darn cool in my mind.

It also makes me feel like a slacker when it comes to writing. I have so many things I want to work on, I should be working on, but I just can't seem to get myself to do it. Perhaps once faire is over and I feel more like I have time to breath I can devote myself to the writing that I really want to be doing.

- Speaking of things I want to be doing; faire ends in two weeks and I will have time again. Time to do all the things I have been wanting to do for months now. I will finally be able to deep clean my house. I will be able to get things organized and put away. My much neglected yard can be tended to. My home improvement projects can begin to be ticked off the list. People can be visited. Vacations can be taken. Foods can be cooked.

You really don't realize how much weekends mean until they are not available. I am so looking forward to going to the farmers market early in the morning, coming home and cooking all afternoon, and having friend over to grill and enjoy the hot summer nights. Good friends, tasty fresh food, cold drinks, and the joy of just being together for the sake of being together.

It really is the little things.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Road stupidity

I have been noticing a weird thing while driving lately, and on this mornings commute it sort of just broke me a little. Maybe it is because I had a very poor nights sleep that was packed with nightmares and a night terror, or maybe it is because I don't want to be at work on a Friday. Any way you look at it, I had a moment in my car this morning where I irrationally started screaming at other drivers.

What was this driving habit that set me off? Well I am glad you asked. It was unreasonable following distance. No I don't mean that people were all up on my ass. That is tailgating, and can be equally annoying, but that is not what got me. It is people who refuse with every fiber of their being to ever get closer than two car lengths to the person in front of them, even if it means driving 10 miles under the speed limit in the fast lane.

A few weeks ago I started noticing this as I drove home. As we were sitting at a red light I would note that people were stopped with enough room between them and the next car to allow at least two full sized cars between them. Sometimes there is no one in front of them at a red light. They simply allow there to be two or so car lengths between them and the white line. Yesterday on the way home the woman in the lane next to me was five car lengths back. I know it was five, because I was the fourth car in line in my lane and she was behind me in her own lane.

I find this red light scenario weird and a little annoying, but then I started noticing the people weren't getting any closer when traffic started moving. I get not getting too close to the car in front of you. I get safe distance and all, hell I tend to hang back a little on the highways, but this is stupid. We are on a normal road, traffic is fairly dense, and you are going to go 30 in a 40 to ensure you don't get within two car lengths of the car in front of you? Also, might I add, making it practically impossible to pass considering the people zipping around you and pulling into that gaping space which you simply hit the breaks to cause again.

I guarantee you this behavior is why almost every one of these people have a crumpled in back end to their cars. This is not reactionary action to having been rear ended. Oh no, these people were rear ended because they drive like idiots!

I really hate driving.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Unsuitable dinner conversation

I am not a political person. In fact I pretty much refuse to speak about politics at all. There will be the very rare occasion when I will feel the need to voice my opinion on the topic, but that really is not normal for me. It is not that I do not have opinions, oh far from it. It is just that I do not want to discuss my opinions, and honestly I don't want to hear yours.

The thing is, politics is an ugly subject matter. People feel very strongly about their politics. I find that people can be almost as fanatically over zealous about politics as they are about religion. Wars are fought over these two topics, which in my mind makes them mostly unfit for dinner conversation. Anything that is in the top five of war starting issues has to be bad for digestion.

There are some people out there that are capable of having differing political positions and can carry on intelligent and passionate debates, and in the end still be friends. The husbeast is one of these people. He loves to talk about what he believes, and hear what you believe, and then passionately debate the merits and flaws of both sides. He is the exception to the rule though.

Most people can not have that sort of debate and still end up friends in the end. So why discuss such things in the first place? If all you are going to do is fight and in the end get your feelings hurt then why talk about it at all? I get that if you and a friend have radically different views it might be hard to be friends, but I personally think that is a deeper issue than your political affiliation.

It bothers some people I know that I won't express my personal political views when the topic comes up. This being an election year, I am having to avoid the topic more than usual. I sit quietly and listen to people on all sides spew hateful ignorant things and it just sort of makes me ill. The valid sensible educated comments are so hard to find that it is ridiculous.

So while everyone else is standing screaming at the top of their lungs how horrible each individual candidate is, and ignoring any bigger pictures or rational thought, I will be over he keeping my mouth shut. I will quietly do my research on the topics, and issues, and candidates and I will come up with an informed decision that I will not be sharing with anyone else.

Who I vote for, or even whether I vote or choose to abstain* from voting is none of anyones business.I am not going to ask you about your voting record either, because it really doesn't concern me. Also I just do not care.

So for the rest of the year I am going to spend a lot of time politely excusing myself from conversations, turning the channel, and hiding Facebook posts. Come voting time I will or won't vote depending on the research I have done and the decisions I have made. Then I can live in relative peace for another few  years before I have to throw up the walls for the next big election year.

*Abstaining from voting is a valid choice when it comes to voting. Trust me, if I decide not to vote on something it is because I came to the decision after heavy research that I can not in good conscience vote on that issue or for any candidate. If you don't like that fact, keep it to yourself.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Alone time

It is nearly 1am and I am still awake. As an insomniac this is not strange for me normally, only tonight I am not claiming insomnia. Tonight I am claiming my own stupidity. I have gotten all caught up in an RP game, and now I do not want to sleep.

Once I open up a creative outlet I never want to stop. It feels so wonderful to create things, that losing a little sleep seems like a small price to pay. Besides I have been deprived of sleep before, what is one more night in the grand scheme of things.

I have my kitty snuggled next to me croaking* softly as he sleeps. The husbeast is long since gone to bed since he was cranky about his foot being sprained**. The house is quiet now that the rain storm has passed.

I am alone with my thoughts, and my characters, and the stories I make. This really is one of my favorite times.

*Poor cat has lost his voice. I think it is allergies, but still he croaks now instead of meowing.

**The husbeast did a flying leap on Saturday while spinning flags, and landed wrong. We thought his ankle was sprained until we took his boot of Sunday and realized all of his toes were black and blue and his foot was swollen to twice its size, while his ankle looked fine. Poor thing is hobbling around now. Thankfully it is just a bad deep bruise and should be fine in a few days time

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happiness is...

...kitty headbutts to wake you up in the mornings.

...babies making fish faces at you.

...warm socks fresh from the dryer.

...the first really sweet strawberry of the season.

...holding your face up to a clear sky to warm yourself in the sun. sheets and towels.

...a $0 credit card balance.

...a letter in the mailbox from a friend to just say hello.

...dinner with friends you never see.

...surprise lunch dates with a loved one.

...a sincere compliment that makes you blush.

...the first tomato of the season.

...a restfull nights sleep.

...good cheese.

...cold milk and warm homemade cookies.

...silly gifts just because.

...the farmers market on a lazy Saturday morning.

...a cute sun dress.

...puppy yawns.

...goodnight kisses.

...finally mastering a new concept.

...the first page of a long awaited book.

...opening night.

...Fridays at 5pm.

...Sacred Saturday* deep cleaning spree.


...the perfect song for the moment.

...honest laughter.

...seeing the someone see the magic for the first time.

...communal meals with friends. grass between your toes.

...the smell of a fresh cut lawn.

...knowing you are wanted and not just needed.

What is happiness for you?

*The first Saturday after faire ends is referred to as Sacred Saturday. It is the first Saturday we have had of in four months, and we cherish it. We all have rituals, normally involving sleeping in, and a GIANT bowl of our favorite cereal. My ritual also includes deep cleaning the entire house. Only once it is completely spotless can I relax and enjoy myself. I find it highly cathartic.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Daydreams of a homeowner

I don't know about you, but the first thing I did when I bought my house was start to dream about ways to change it. I mean we bought the house because we loved it. Well no we bought the house because the kitchen is absolutely amazing, but we liked the rest of the house too. I think though there was more love for the potential of the house, than the house as it was.

Before we moved anything inside we did some demolition and painting. The previous owners had a father who was a master carpenter and had built beautiful built in book cases everywhere. Some of them simply were not where we wanted them to be. Also the living room was a wretched shade of baby puke green that I simply could not live with. Also all the bedrooms and bathrooms were flesh tone, though those didn't get repainted until we had been in the house four years.

Of course as we got to know the house we realized that certain things needed to be changed not only because we desired something different, but because what was in place was not going to last much longer or were damaged in things like pipes breaking and roofs leaking. Flood a house with laminate flooring once, and suddenly  you are very open, and needing, of new flooring options.

I have this list that I made one day at work while I was bored. I went in my head through every room in the house and wrote down my desires. Some rooms are very simple; new paint on the walls and ceilings*, new base boards and crown molding**, new light fixtures***, and a steam clean to the carpet.

Some rooms have a little more thought put into them. Some rooms include words like re-drywall entire room, replace floors, retile, repaint, new everything. High on the list of rooms that need a complete overhaul are both of our bathrooms.

The guest bath is not too bad. It has flesh toned walls and wall paper that is beginning to peel, but the biggest problem is the gaping hole in the shower from a broken pipe repair. The shower will have to be completely retiled. I would also like to replace the vanity and over toilet storage since they were built ins from the previous owner, and really are not aesthetically pleasing.

The master bath is much worse. I almost did not buy the house because of this bathroom. It is small and ugly. The walls in the vanity area ale flesh toned. In the room with the toilet and tub they are bone white with cheap white subway tile. The vanity is so old it is about to fall apart. The mirror has a frame that was homemade with floral foam and some fabric that looks like it belonged to a dress from Little House on the Prairie.  There are these weird shelves on either side of the vanity area that are shallow and completely open which I find very awkward in a bathroom. Also the light/fan over the shower is so old that our electrician was amused by it. Oh and the toilet needs to be replaced since the guts are all faulty.

It is not a small project to fix that level of problem. I am sure we will slowly get to it one piece at a time. We are currently looking into the cost of someone coming and repairing and retiling the guest shower vs us doing it ourselves. If that is affordable or something that we find easy enough, we will retile the master on our own. Painting isn't too hard, but the walls need to be retextured thanks to a very poor job by the previous owners, but I also don't want to do that until we tear out and replace the vanity and shelves.

I've never paid someone else to do home repairs before so I am not really certain how that all works. We have always been DIY people, even from when I was just a little girl. I am not sure if the cost will justify the convenience if we could just take a weekend and do it ourselves. Although I have been less than pleased with some past DIY projects, which would make me lean toward paying someone who knows what they are doing.

It is all just a matter of time and money, both of which are always in short supply. I have my list though, and I have my day dreams. Until the day comes when I can actually fix it, I will continue to dream of what my house could be when it reaches the potential I saw in it when I bought it.

* The previous owners depopcorned almost all of the ceilings and painted or wallpapered them. Unfortunately they either used a latex paint which is now bubbling and peeling, a wallpaper glue that was cheap because it is now peeling off everywhere, or not enough pain and you can see roller marks.

** The previous owners picked the cheapest floor boards and molding they could, and it is actually missing in spots, and doesn't match from room to room. Drives me crazy.

*** The lighting in this house is screwy, and all the ceiling fans are so old that they have hit that 'sounds like the motor is full of gravel' stage when you turn them on. Plus not one light fixture in the house matches another one. I like continuity.